Sweet and Savory Overnight Roast Pork

By • May 26, 2014 • 42 Comments



Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 four-pound boneless pork butt (from a butcher you know, well-marbled, and with a good layer of fat on top)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle (plus more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Tie the pork butt with twine in several places so that it cooks evenly. Salt it generously all over and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
  2. In the meantime, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, mustard, thyme, garlic and chipotle powder in a small bowl. Add a few pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper.
  3. Heat the oven to 475 degrees. When the pork is at room temperature and the oven is hot, smear the sugar, mustard and garlic mixture all over the pork, concentrating a good amount of it on the top pf the roast, where the fat is. Nestle the pork (fat-side-up) into a roasting pan or cast iron baking dish just big enough to hold it, and put it in the oven. When you start to smell garlic and sugar burning, and after no longer than 15 minutes, turn the heat down to 200 degrees. (Do not open the oven door to peek!)
  4. Leave the pork in the oven overnight, for at least 6 hours and up to 8. When you wake up in the morning your house will smell intoxicating, and the pork will be ready to shred and pack up for lunches for the whole family -- all you need is a soft roll and some coleslaw or pickled fennel, or a big pile of mashed potatoes.
Jump to Comments (42)

Tags: cooking for kids, overnight cooking

Comments (42) Questions (3)

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about 1 month ago Dimply Dots

We loved the flavor of this!! Even the picky three year old gobbled it up. Our pork butt also did not "shred" as much as we thought, but I didn't mind one bit really. truly great and easy recipe with wonderful favors. Make this now!

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about 1 month ago vgonyea

Sigh....I was soooo excited about this! I tried it this weekend, here are my variables:
3.85 lb shoulder with fat cap
Good ol' cast iron skillet, uncovered
Initial time at high temp 12 minutes, then reduced to 200 degrees
Internal temp was to 205 when I pulled it out (about 8 hours)

Problem...."good ol' cast iron skillet" mentioned above (not aluminized, the real deal) did not survive! I've had this skillet for many years but this actually took the bottom surface off, leaving the bare silver iron below! Heartbroken.
And, after all that the meat was NOT shreddible. Tasty, but not shreddible. And I lost my favorite skillet...after about 7 years or regular ("go-to") use. So sad, it's actually hard to even write this.
ONLY other variable that I can come up with is that my oven is convection...otherwise, I followed the instructions to the "T". Could convection REALLY have done that, even at such a low temp of 200 degrees? The meat was cooked and it was delicious...and the pan has been regularly seasoned, on an as-needed basis over the years.

Merrill

about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Oh, no! I'm so sorry to hear this. The not-shreddable situation is one that others have apparently encountered as well -- probably has to do with the specific pork butt you used (my guy sells a really fatty version that's mostly "dark" meat). As for the skillet, I really don't know what to say! I've never heard of this happening before, and I use my cast iron skillet every time I make this. This could be a good topic for our Hotline -- other cooks may have had similar experiences and might be able to offer some wisdom/advice.

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6 days ago Souhaite

Has anyone been able to figure out whether convection makes that much of an impact? I've got my pork butt in gear, but have a convection-only oven!

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about 1 month ago Jennifer Hillyer

One more question...I have 2 pork butts...how would I adjust the time & temp to cook both at the same time?

Merrill

about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Don't think you need to adjust anything -- just leave yourself a little extra time in case they need to cook longer!

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about 1 month ago Jennifer Hillyer

Can I use a different cut of meat such as a shoulder?

Merrill

about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, the butt comes from the shoulder, and you can use other parts of the shoulder too.

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about 1 month ago aarin

I just made this with a 3lb roast. It was tough and not shreddable after 9 hours (uncovered) so I put it in for 2 more. My oven may have been running a lower temperature but it's a good reminder to check temp and give yourself more time if needed. The crust was lovely and we enjoyed the sweetness but the garlic was a bit burned (even though I didn't burn it badly in the first 10 min at the high temp).

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about 1 month ago Grinelda

This sounds just like my favorite go-to pork recipe for a crowd -- my beloved 12-hour ham! My recipe is much simpler, although I'm going to try Merrill's next time. I buy a big, inexpensive, bone-in pork butt and start it early in the morning, putting it all by itself in a roasting pan (no cover) in a 225 degree oven. The timing is approximate; 12 hours would be for a really big pork butt, 10-11 hours for a smaller one. About 1/2 hour before I plan to serve it, I spoon a jar of apricot-pineapple preserves over it. Sometimes I have to cut through the fat layer at the end to let the meat "escape", and then it just falls apart. I usually serve it hot with side dishes the first night, and then as pulled pork sandwiches for as many lunches or dinner as the leftovers will last. Easy and delicious!

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about 1 month ago dagatekeeper

VickyD, Mine just came out of the oven. I cooked it in a cast iron "DouFeu" cast iron casserole pan. Removed the lid for the last 30 minutes so it could caramelize all over but it was well on its way to that "stage" with the lid on. Wish I could upload a photo. Already had to make sure it was fork tender. Several times.

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about 1 month ago dagatekeeper

Not sure why I said cast iron twice...lol

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about 1 month ago VickyD

Has anyone tried this covered? I did a 2 lb piece of pork, but still used most of the sauce and have it in the oven in my Le Creuset. I'm tempted to cover it to make sure it stays moist but I was looking forward to that crispy coating...

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about 1 month ago VickyD

Thanks dagatekeeper! I ended up leaving the lid on the whole time and it turned out great. Even still had some crispy bits but was fork tender and shredded right up (which is what I was going for).

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about 1 month ago VickyD

Oh and I used my big ol' Le Creuset dutch oven.

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about 1 month ago dagatekeeper

Found myself a cute Boston Butt - just 3 pounds. Will adjust the timing and perhaps a wee bit of the spices then do what I normally do for the giant versions - set it and forget it. It would be difficult to have that wonderful aroma throughout the house when trying to sleep. Going to use a cast iron pan this time but normally use my mother in law's vintage roasting pan. Now officially hungry and the meat is still coming to room temp!

Ribs

about 1 month ago Kevin French

Will be making this soon and will report back how it goes.

To address some of the reviews here, pork butts (well, meat in general) pulls somewhere between 195-205 degrees internal. Anything less will probably result in a product better suited for slicing. A fine product, but not shredded. The recipe here is right on for technique, but the preparer would be well served to check internal temps as every piece of meat responds differently to heat and time.

Covering the meat, with foil or a lid to steam or braise, will get the job done quickly, but you will soften the bark - or crust - of the meat. If you choose this method, you can regain some of this if you uncover the meat again for 30 minutes when nearly done to allow the crust to dry again.

Will keep you posted on how this turns out!

Merrill

about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks for the great tips!

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about 1 month ago maggie kilpatrick

OK so I accidentally bought a huge pork butt - 11 pounds. I'm assuming I can adjust the cooking time for the larger piece of meat? I can also cut it if that makes more sense. I'll plan to use it for my teenage sons friends - nothing is ever too big for that crowd!

Merrill

about 1 month ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

You'll just want to cook it longer -- for 10-12 hours, I think.

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about 1 month ago Cookie maven

Tender and delicious! I love how it is so simple to prep and cooks over night. Thank you Merrill for sharing a wonderful recipe!

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2 months ago helena

Dark meat, I meant.

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2 months ago helena

Not shreddable was my biggest problem, too. However, some small segments WERE shreddable and they looked to be darn meat. So maybe Meryl got a butt with a larger proportion of dark meat and thus it worked for her with this recipe.

Stringio

2 months ago Stephanie Paddock

This turned out great, though not shreddable. I'll just slice it up instead. Definitely a keeper. So simple, but with huge rewards!

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2 months ago Chris Kane

Hello Stephanie: As in previous posts, I was at 175-degrees internal, and like you, not shredable. But nice well done, grey-pinkish, tender. Shredable, since I've done before, needs braising, not roasting. IMHO.

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2 months ago David.Benoff

Yum! I may have to try this sous vide style at 135° for 72 hours... :)

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2 months ago Chris Kane

PS: 175-degrees internal temp.

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2 months ago Chris Kane

Did this with 4# Pork Butt, "Natural," from Whole Foods Pasadena, CA - about 10 hrs. at 200-degrees. Nice tender well done pork roast. Not so shredable -- which would accomplish better as braise.

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2 months ago Scott Basye

I decided to do this during the day as the timing was off for me to do it overnight. I got the pork out of the fridge at 8am - got it in the oven with the glaze around 9:15am and will have it ready for dinner at 6pm!

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2 months ago CupcakesandKale

not sure I understand, "Tie the pork butt with twine in several places so that it cooks evenly." Could you elaborate?